Aug. 14, 2007
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The UCLA women's volleyball team was ranked fifth in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll as announced on Tuesday.
The Bruins open up the 2007 campaign on Friday, Aug. 24 when they travel to Omaha, Neb. for the AVCA Showcase. First up for UCLA will be 21st-ranked Utah, a team the Bruins beat in the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. A potential Showcase Championship match-up could pit UCLA against top-ranked and defending national champion Nebraska, which beat the Bruins in the national semifinals in Omaha last year. Friday's match against the Utes begins at 4 p.m. PT/6 p.m. CT. On Saturday, the first match starts at 4 p.m. PT/6 p.m. CT and the championship contest begins at 6:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. CT.
The CSTV/AVCA preseason Top 25 features six teams on the Bruins' schedule (#2 Stanford, #6 USC, #8 Washington, #10 Hawai'i, #12 California and #15 San Diego), as well as five more squads that are receiving votes in the first poll of the year (Arizona, Louisville, Oregon, Pepperdine and Tennessee - Potential AVCA Showcase Opponent).
UCLA returns 11 letterwinners and four starters to a 2006 squad which went 33-4 and reached the Final Four for the first time since 1994. Leading the charge in 2007 for the Bruins is junior setter Nellie Spicer, who earned AVCA First-Team All-American honors as a sophomore. Senior middle blockers Rachell Johnson and Meghan Schoen also return to help UCLA continue its momentum from its outstanding play in the Spring. The Bruins claimed the USA Volleyball Adult Open Championships in Austin, Texas in May. Spicer was named MVP of the tournament and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Johnson, Schoen and junior outside hitters Ali Daley and Kaitlin Sather.